Health & WellnessS


Afternoon naps may boost heart health

The next health trend might come out of nursery school instead of the gym: A study of nearly 24,000 people found that those who regularly took midday naps were nearly 40% less likely to die from heart disease than non-nappers.

Researchers suggest that siestas might protect the heart by lowering levels of stress hormones.

Dimitrios Trichopoulos at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, US, and colleagues recruited about 24,000 volunteers between the ages of 20 and 86, in Greece, who had no history of heart disease, stroke or cancer. The researchers collected information about the participants' napping habits and followed them for six years, on average.


No sleep means no new brain cells

Missing out on sleep may cause the brain to stop producing new cells, a study has suggested.

The work on rats, by a team from Princeton University found a lack of sleep affected the hippocampus, a brain region involved in forming memories.

The research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science showed a stress hormone causes the effect.


Valentine Roses Hit With Toxic Chemicals

Bogota, Colombia - It's probably the last thing most people think about when buying roses _ by the time the bright, velvety flowers reach your Valentine, they will have been sprayed, rinsed and dipped in a battery of potentially lethal chemicals.

Most of the toxic assault takes place in the waterlogged savannah surrounding the capital of Colombia, the world's second-largest cut-flower producer after the Netherlands. It produces 62 percent of all flowers sold in the United States.


More Reasons to Avoid Potato Chips

One of our readers works with a company that converts used vegetable oils to biodiesel fuel. He read the potato chip article in the January 20 newsletter. His inside information will make you want to avoid potato chips even more.


U.S. Says Autism Rate 1 in 150

About one in 150 American children has autism, U.S. health officials said Thursday, calling the troubling disorder an urgent public health concern that is more common than they had thought.

Comment: Based on the incomplete population sampling, and avoidance of the thimerosal issue, one might just think this article is 'shying away' from the truth, and that things are much worse than stated.

A 2005 article by Robert Kennedy, Jr. entitled Autism, Mercury and Politics begins with: "MOUNTING EVIDENCE suggests that Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in children's vaccines, may be responsible for the exponential growth of autism, attention deficit disorder, speech delays, and other childhood neurological disorders now epidemic in the United States." The entire article is linked.


Repressed memories a recent development?

The idea of repressed memory - when traumatic events are wiped from a person's conscious memory but resurface years later - has had a chequered past. Some have cited it as evidence in court, yet others dismiss it as nothing more than psychiatric folklore.

A new study adds a literary layer of evidence to the debate. To see how long the idea of repressed memories have been around, a group of psychologists and literature scholars turned to historical writings.


Autism-like disorder 'reversible'

The symptoms of a severe brain disorder similar to autism, which affects around 10,000 UK children, could be reversed, scientists believe.

A team at Edinburgh University made symptoms of Rett syndrome disappear in mice by activating a single gene, the magazine Science reports.

The condition, which mainly affects girls, was previously thought to be irrevocable.


Smart Strategy: Think of the Brain as a Muscle

Students who are told they can get smarter if they train their brains to be stronger, like a muscle, do better in school, a new psychology study shows.

Many people have various theories about the nature of intelligence. Some view it as a fixed trait, while others see intelligence as a quality that can develop and expand.

These ideas have can have a profound effect on the motivation to learn, said researcher Carol Dweck, a child and social psychologist at Stanford University.


Not Enough Sleep Could Make Your Child Overweight

US scientists have found that not enough sleep probably leads to children becoming overweight.

The findings are published in the journal Child Development.

"Our study suggests that earlier bedtimes, later wake times and later school start times could be an important and relatively low-cost strategy to help reduce childhood weight problems," said Emily Snell, lead author and doctoral student in human development and social policy at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.


U.S. companies prepare for bird flu pandemic - Formula: Create Illness, Sell Cure

Orlando, Florida - Exxon plans to keep some refinery workers living in the plants to keep them going. A small Southern grocery chain is thinking about drive-through pickup of soup and bread.

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration urged employers to develop plans to cope with a possible flu pandemic on Tuesday, suggesting letting employees work from home and encouraging sick workers to stay home without reprisals.